Dec 27, 2012

Nalah and the Pink Tiger, It's an App!

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed storybook apps and how they are made. As you may remember, we used the app version of Nalah and the Pink Tiger by local puppeteer Anne Sawyer-Aitch as an example. At the time, the app was still going through conversion and approval, but today we are excited to announce that the Nalah and the Pink Tiger app is available in the App Store for only $4.99!
With interactive illustrations, music, and the ability to read and listen in English and Spanish, this app is just the thing to make story time both exciting and educational!
Check out the trailer, and you'll see why everyone is talking about the Nalah and the Pink Tiger app!

For more information on the book, a schedule of Nalah and the Pink Tiger puppet shows and events, and free downloadable activities from Anne, visit the Nalah and the Pink Tiger website!

Dec 20, 2012

A Christmas Recipe: Very Berry Clafoutis

Christmas is fast approaching (that is, if we survive the apocalypse tomorrow), and we're in the mood for sharing. So in that theme, today seemed like a perfect day to share a delicious recipe from our upcoming kids' cookbook, Cool World Cooking by Lisa Wagner.

This sweet and creamy French dessert will surely delight your guests, and since it is part of our kids cookbook, it's simple enough for even the novice baker. And so we present to you, the Very Berry Clafoutis! Bon Appetit!


Dec 14, 2012

How Are Book Apps Made?

People are always looking for the next thing--the next trend, the next technology, the next market--and for a lot of people, the next thing is apps. Apps for everything. And picture book apps are getting more popular. They move, they play, they read aloud...the possibilities are endless. Okay, they're not endless, but you get the point. There are some seriously amazing things you can do with apps.

Children's books are the perfect print medium to take the plunge into app conversion. They're image based, playful by nature, and full of imagination. Not to mention, the interactivity is great for exploration and discovery. With all of that going on, it's no wonder children's book apps are the new thing we keep hearing about.

And as you may have heard, Scarletta is publishing our first picture book this spring. And not only that, but the book is also in the process of becoming an app. That's right, Nalah and the Pink Tiger will be available as a bilingual app, in English and Spanish, for the iPad! But as exciting as that is--and it's pretty darn exciting--I found myself wondering just what goes into making an app. And since we're lucky enough to have the people who do this sort of thing in our same office, I only had to walk about twenty steps to find the Nalah app designer, Kelly, and ask her some questions.

First things first, there are multiple programs that you can use to develop apps. We happen to use a version of Adobe called DPS (or digital publishing suite) that allows you to create the layouts and animations right in Adobe. So we take the inDesign files originally created for printing, and within DPS we can add all the animations and sounds right to the original pages. We just have to make sure that the spreads are proportionate to the iPad screen, and off we go.

Dec 7, 2012

Pendred Noyce's The Ice Castle Wins a Mom's Choice Award

Scarletta is excited to announce that Pendred Noyce's second book in the Lexicon Adventure series, The Ice Castle: An Adventure in Music, has won a Gold Award from Mom's Choice Awards® in the category of Juvenile Level 2 (ages 9-12)!
The Mom's Choice Awards® honor the best in products and services for children and families. Evaluating in over 150 categories, the Mom’s Choice Awards® use an esteemed panel of judges including educators, media and other experts, parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists, and others. "The program is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services," and the result is a list of materials that parents and educators can feel confident using. (-Mom's Choice Awards®)
Noyce's first book in the series, Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers, was also a Mom's Choice Award® Gold winner, and the second book continues that tradition. The Lexicon Adventure series provides young readers with entertaining and exciting stories that are rich in language play, description, complex themes, and multiple points of view. Not to mention its embedded explanations of science, math, language, and music make the series a great educator's tool for use in cross-curricular learning.
We're proud to have The Ice Castle: An Adventure in Music recognized as one of the best in family-friendly media!

Nov 30, 2012

Christmas Advent Calendar—In Books!

We all know the traditional Christmas advent calendars where you get a piece of chocolate every day for the twenty-four days leading up to Christmas. Well this year, we thought we would break that tradition in favor of something a little more bookish . . . and a lot more fun! (Although, if you want, you can still eat the chocolate too.)

In the spirit of the holidays, we put together a list of twenty-four of our favorite children's books—some classics, some new—and made our own advent calendar. You can wrap these up under your tree, and every night before Christmas, your family can read one together. Sounds like the perfect way to get ready for the holidays, no?

Below the image are the links to buy all the books from your favorite bookstore. This Saturday, December 1, just happens to be Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, so grab the kids, head to your local bookstore, and stock up on these holiday favorites!

24. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess
23. Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold

22. Yes, Virginia There Is a Santa Claus by Chris Plehal
21. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
20. Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer
19. If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Joffee Numeroff
18. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
17. The Nutcracker (this version) by Susan Jeffers
16. Merry Christmas, Splat by Rob Scotton
15. A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz
14. The  Worst  Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
13. Dream Snow by Eric Carle
12. The Twelve Days of Christmas (this version) by Laurel Long
11. Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas by Julia Rawlinson
10. The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
9. Eloise at Christmastime Kay Thompson

8. Peef the Christmas Bear by Tom Hegg
7. Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
6. Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas by Jane O'Conner
5. Wombat Divine by Mem Fox
4. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (adaptation)
3. Bear Stays Up for Christmas Karma Wilson
2. The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood
1. The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore


Nov 28, 2012

Author Cathy Sultan on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Author Cathy Sultan recently came back from a trip to Gaza, and she shared her experiences on WQOW in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Of the residents of Gaza, Sultan says, "These people are strong and they have resilience. My God do they have resilience, with a capital R they have resilience." Watch the entire interview:

WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Cathy Sultan's books--A Beirut Heart, Israeli and Palestinian Voices, and Tragedy in South Lebanon are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Nov 26, 2012

What Makes a Great Picture Book? 10 Key Elements

It's almost the end of November, and man has it flown by. Not only did November mark the beginning of our reading period, but it was Picture Book Month. And between all of the talk online about picture books and the huge amount of proposals we've gotten for new children's titles, we've been thinking a lot this month about what makes a great picture book.
After a little digging around online for popular opinions, and examining our own tastes, we've narrowed it down to a list of 10 key elements:

    1. The story must understand what it's like to be a child going through something for the first time. "Picture books communicate self-acceptance, and they model coping strategies for children who are just learning to deal with powerful emotions." (Young Children and Picture Books)
    2. A picture book should be simple but thoughtful. There is a small amount of space to find the perfect combination where all the elements work perfectly together.
    3. The language should fit the audience. It should be playful, be fun, be attention grabbing, but be rich. Never forced. Every word needs to count for something.
    4. Picture books are for the adults reading them as well, and so the story should resonate with and be enjoyable for the child AND the adult reading it. There's nothing better than reading a picture book as an adult and having it still mean something to you.

Nov 16, 2012

Book Trailers: Take 2

It's no secret that we love book trailers. We put up a list of our favorites in June, and since then we've developed a Pinterest board dedicated to them, and watched countless ones in our daily newsletters from Shelf Awareness. In fact, we've come across so many new trailers that we decided we pretty much had to post a followup list. So what follows are some of our new favorites, but undoubtedly, the list will continue to grow.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

If you haven't read this book yet, you must go and buy it today. It's great. And the book trailer doesn't disappoint either. The split screen and music made me fall in love with this trailer just as much as the book.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

The illustrations for both of her books (see next trailer) are beautiful and simply amazing. They are somewhat reminiscent of Brian Selznick, who we featured in our first list of trailers. The song is pretty great too.

Nov 13, 2012

Social Media for Everyone!

It's time for a quick social media round up. If you love Twitter, follow @ScarlettaPress and @Scarletta_Kids for tons of bookish fun and news. Twitter not your style? Like us on Facebook. And if you're more into images, well there's always Pinterest. We have 24 boards and thinking of new ones every day. For audio excerpts, activity videos, puppet shows, music, and more, go to our YouTube channel.

We really have something for everyone, so click on any of the links below and find a new way to connect with us!

1. Scarletta Twitter
2. Scarletta Kids Twitter
3. Facebook
4. Pinterest
5. YouTube

Nov 9, 2012

Katie and Aaron DeYoe: Illustrator Interview

Katie and Aaron DeYoe are probably the cutest pair of redheads you'll ever meet, not to mention incredibly talented illustrators. They met while studying graphic design at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and though they are both full-time graphic designers, they spend most of their free time drawing, doodling, painting, and printing. They also enjoy riding their serendipitously matching red Schwinns around Minneapolis.

We took a bit of time to chat with Aaron about their work on The Mighty Quinn, out in May from Scarletta Junior Readers, and how it's been working as a duo.


1. The Mighty Quinn is the first book that you’ve illustrated together. How has the experience been so far?

Really good! We have discovered that our process is mostly switching between art director and illustrator. Sometimes I will have a vision for a particular illustration that I know Katie can execute better than me...and vice versa.

2. What have you enjoyed most about it?

Discovering how we work as a team. A long-term goal of ours is work collaboratively full time, and this project is helping us discover what that will be like.

3. Have their been unexpected challenges?

We set high expectations for ourselves, and struggle with that sometimes. Otherwise, nothing too unexpected.

4. Where did the style for the drawings come from? Is it a combination of your personal styles or does it lean toward one of your personal styles?

A lot of the "body language" that the characters convey in the illustrations are products of Katie's expertise. I will try to simplify her sketches down into hard, minimal lines. We tag-team a lot of the details and usually art direct each other.

6. What is your process for creating the illustrations? And what medium do you use?

Nov 1, 2012

We've Got a New Website!

It's the first day of November, and with the new month, not only are we beginning our reading period but we're proud to announce that we have a new website! Have you seen it? It features a running slide of new and upcoming books, imprint pages, author pages, press rooms for all your media needs, and even an online store so you can buy our books directly from us. Pretty neat, huh?

When we were thinking of how to redesign our site, we wanted to make sure that the spirit of who we are as a publisher stayed intact. But we've also grown a lot in the past few years--expanding the number of books we publish and expanding into the children's and junior reader's markets--and we wanted our new website to reflect our new direction.

Another big change is that we've created new logos. We wanted to rebrand ourselves to reflect how we've changed as a publisher. And in the next few days, you'll see our social media sites change to connect them with our new look. FacebookPinterestTwitterYouTube, and even this blog will use the new logos and colors to create a cohesive identity that is Scarletta.  Check 'em out:


So if you haven't already, go to the new and improved, and let us know what you think of our new look!

Oct 25, 2012

Middle Grade or YA? A Mother Writes for Advanced Readers

When your first grader (or third grader) gobbles up Harry Potter, what’s next? When your eager reader begins to look past the chapter book section in the library to the middle-grade section and beyond, how should you steer that child? In a society that pushes early sexualization of children and treats tweens as consumers controlling parent purse strings, is it possible to help children grow their brains without cutting short their childhoods?

Oct 18, 2012

Twin Cities Book Festival 2012

First was Heartland Fall Forum, and then last Saturday, we hauled all of our books to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in  St. Paul for Rain Taxi Review's annual Twin Cities Book Festival.

This year was a little different as the festival wasn't held downtown at MCTC, but that just meant more space and WAY better parking. The weather ended up being pretty dreary, but the atmosphere inside was full of energy and excitement. Between the people stopping by our booth to buy books and the children in the children's pavilion across from us running around with painted faces and masks, it was a fun--and busy--day. Here are some of the pictures we managed to take throughout the day:

The sea of people browsing

Oct 8, 2012

Heartland Fall Forum - in Pictures

The end of last week was the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association's regional trade show, Heartland Fall Forum, and as it was right here in our backyard. This year was the first year that MIBA partnered with the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (GLIBA) to hold one trade show for the twelve-state region, making it a pretty huge event.

We spent all day Friday in the exhibit hall, talking to booksellers, librarians, fellow publishers, and even the occasional student. It was a great day, and we enjoyed every minute of it. The Midwest is truly full of passionate book lovers, and we're happy to be a part of it.

So, without further ado, here are some of the pictures we took of the exhibit floor and our table.

Our table

Oct 4, 2012

Banned Books Week: Highlights

American Library Association’s 30th annual Banned Books Week is quickly coming to an end, and everywhere we turn, there are discussions and opinions on challenged books.
According to ALA, “Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
We, at Scarletta Press, think it is important to support the written word and people’s right to choose what they will and will not read. After all, if you don’t agree with a book, you don’t need to read it. That doesn’t mean that other people shouldn’t be allowed to.
So to celebrate the right to read, we thought we’d put together a list of some of the highlights of Banned Book Week so far from across the internet. Feel free to share your own links, photos, or personal stories below. We want to know what things you’re enjoying this week.
First off, here is a highlighted list from ALA of the most often challenged titles. Some of them may surprise you.
1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

Sep 28, 2012

What Is an ARC?

Some of theARCs for our spring 2013 books

If you've been on our Facebook or Twitter accounts in the last week, you may have noticed that we've been posting a lot of pictures of ARCs. For those not in the book business, an ARC (or advanced reading copy) is an unproofed, bound copy of a book that is printed prior to publication. They can also be called galleys, AREs (advanced reading editions) or in the case of picture books/highly illustrated books you might hear the terms F&G (folded and gathered) and BLAD (book layout and design).

All of those acronyms boil down to one thing: a free book given away by publishers in order to generate excitement and buzz about an upcoming title. We have ARCs printed and send them to reviewers, bloggers, booksellers, librarians, and media contacts; give them away at trade shows and in online giveaways; give them to our sales reps; and give them to our authors so that they can have a good idea of what their book will look like once it's published.


Sep 21, 2012

Building Author Relationships Online

Was it just us, or did authors used to have an air of mystery about them? Maybe you saw them once at a book signing, but mostly they were just names on the covers of your favorite books. You felt a connection to them because of the words they wrote, but it didn't go far beyond that. Now things are different. With social media and the internet, authors, like everyone else, are searchable, followable, and accessible to everyone (not just those able to come to a signing). So what does that mean for readers?

I sent a tweet last winter that said my plan for the night was to curl up with some takeout food and a new book I had gotten. With Twitter, I usually expect my tweets to get lost in the chatter, but not long after, the author of said book tweeted me back to say it sounded like a perfect night. Did she have to do this? Not at all, and not every author does. But it certainly made me excited to read the book, and more willing to check out her other titles. And obviously, it made me want to talk more about her and her book to friends. And we can all agree that these things are important for an author. That's why it seems like more and more authors are taking the plunge and getting involved online.

Scarletta authors, and the authors of our imprints, get involved in different ways as well, and we do what we can to support whatever avenue they choose to take. Some of our authors run blogs and websites, which you can find by going to the authors section on the left side of this page, and some are on social networking sites*. We even feature our new authors on this blog so you can read about them before their books have even come out. (Have you read the interview we did we Betsy's Day at the Game author, Greg Bancroft? Or the guest blog written by The Mighty Quinn author, Robyn Parnell?)

We want readers to get to know our authors and be as excited as we are about their books. So we want to know, in this day and age of accessibility, how much to you like to connect with authors online? And what is your preferred outlet--reading a blog, chatting on Twitter, getting updates in your Facebook newsfeed, or maybe all of the above?


Click here for Pendred Noyce's Facebook page for Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers and here for her Twitter profile

Click here for Anne Sawyer Aitch's Facebook fan page for Nalah and the Pink Tiger

Click here for Bob Macdonald's Twitter account

Click here for Pamela Cory's Facebook page

Sep 13, 2012

Lost in Lexicon: A Great Tool for Teachers

We've been talking a lot lately about Penny Noyce's newest book, The Ice Castle: An Adventure in Music, but we don't want to forget the first book in the Lexicon Adventure series, Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers, which we published in 2011. In fact, Lost in Lexicon is such a great book and tool for teachers to use in the classroom that the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics reviewed it this month in their Teaching Children Mathematics magazine. Now the bad news is that you need a subscription to read the entire magazine, but fortunately we've posted the review here for you:

"Two thirteen-year-old cousins travel through an imaginary land called Lexicon, searching for clues to help them locate and return children who have gone missing from their villages. As the cousins, Ivan and Daphne, use a compass and Cartesian plane to make their way across Lexicon, they encounter a village overrun by punctuation, are joined by a four-legged thesaurus, and use mathematical formulas to help repair a town. In their travels, the cousins use words and numbers to gather clues that eventually lead them to the location of the missing children. Here they call on their growing confidence and knowledge of language and mathematics to rescue the children and help them return to villages.
Noyce’s imaginative, playful use of words and numbers keeps readers engaged throughout the story. Most tween and teen students will likely recognize an underlying message about the dangers of mindlessly watching television and playing video games. This book also answers the age-old question asked by students: “When will I ever use this in real life?” The charming story, along with the focus questions and extension activities at the end of the book, make this an entertaining selection for student-led reading discussions at the upper elementary and intermediate level."
—Jennifer Geoffroy, D.C. Public Schools, Washington, D.C.

A big thank you to Jennifer and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics for saying such great things about Lost in Lexicon.
And if you're a teacher or educator, we want to know, what do you look for when picking books to use in your classroom?

Sep 12, 2012

Help Donate Books to Children

Anne Sawyer-Aitch needs your help!
On September 23rd, children's book author and puppeteer Anne Sawyer-Aitch will be completing a marathon! Sure it's great exercise, but her motivation comes from somewhere else. Here's what she had to say:

Will you walk a mile to give a kid a book? I will. In fact, I’ll walk twenty six. In the winter and spring of 2013, I’ll be touring the Spanish puppet show version of
Nalah and the Pink Tiger to social service agencies that serve Latino children. Kids will not only get to see the puppet show, they’ll get to make a puppet too. Afterwards, each child will get their own copy of Nalah and the Pink Tiger to take home. Have I applied for a grant to do this? You bet. But Metropolitan Regional Arts Council grants require matching funding. For this project, I need to raise $2,400. To do this, I’m walking in the Community First Fox Cities Marathon in Appleton, WI, on September 23rd. You can help make this project a reality by sponsoring my walk.

Why do this? Because I want to get my book Nalah and the Pink Tiger into the hands of kids who may not have access to lots of books at home. If you need more reasons, read on.

Sep 6, 2012

Wonderful Reviews for Knives on the Cutting Edge

When we have great books, like Bob Macdonald's Knives on the Cutting Edge: The Great Chefs' Dining Revolution, we can't help but be proud of them. And when other people love them, well that's even better. So we just wanted to briefly share the great reviews we've received so far.

From Foreword Reviews:
"Highly innovative gourmet meals and the exquisitely selected wines to accompany them may be as intricate as a symphony, and as tricky to explain, but here the author has taken an orderly approach to describing the hunt for culinary perfection....Yet, just when one eating tale seems like another, MacDonald lets loose with an unexpected account, often brimming with intrigue, that puts a reader in mind of the ultimate dining compliment: 'I’ll have what he’s having.' At least, in a vicarious way, his hungry readers can." Read the rest here.

From Jesse Kornbluth on Huffington Post Food, and on his website (

What keeps him human -- what keeps this book from a wallow in meals that read like NC-17 movies -- is his lack of snobbery about his good fortune. 'Our meals in local bistros and even picnics with fresh French bread and favorites such as pork rillettes, sliced sausages and hams, celery remoulade and Comte cheese could be just as memorable.'
...You get the idea: the Macdonalds have had decades of the kind of experiences that are unrealized dreams for most foodies. For those dreamers, as for me, this is armchair dining, and at the highest level." Read the rest of the article here.

Aug 31, 2012

Author Interview: Greg Bancroft

Greg Bancroft is a father, a grandfather, and an avid baseball fan. Growing up in a small town in Minnesota, Greg and his friends spent a lot of time outdoors, playing baseball nearly every day in the summer. Over the years, he has followed teams in parts of the country where he and his family have lived, and his debut children's book, Betsy's Day at the Game (out this April), mirrors many of his own experiences at the ballpark with his family. In the book, his main character Betsy, goes to a baseball game with her grandfather and is eager to show him everything she has learned about scoring a game. Exciting things happen as she fills in her scorecard, but the most exciting event happens when one of her favorite players hits a foul ball right into her section!

A love of baseball really comes across in this book, and after talking to Greg for a little while, you can't help but share his love of the game.

1. What brought you to writing? And what made you decide to write books for children?

I have been writing for decades. As a perennial student writing countless papers; as a pastor writing countless sermons; as a teacher writing any number of class outlines, I have been writing most of my life. I have kept journals for years and am now writing frequently in separate journals for my grandchildren (thoughts, life-insights, reports of their activities that their parents don’t have time to record). It’s natural for me to write books for children because I am constantly telling stories. My kids and I would make up stories before bed. We would tell stories while taking long road trips. We would tell each other our dreams (or nightmares!). I love exercising my imagination and including my listeners, children or adults, in the process.

2. Where do you find inspiration for writing?

It’s just in me. It’s a part of who I am. I write and tell stories as a way to help me organize my thoughts, or work out a solution to a particular problem, or entertain others. Also, I am a voracious reader. I always have been. I read anything and everything, even cereal boxes. I just love words. Of course, not all my reading is necessarily enjoyable. Some, I just have to do (like email). Good writing, fiction or non-fiction, however, is such a passion of mine that I fear I might go crazy if not surrounded by books and the written word. I am also something of an introvert, in the sense that I live in the world of ideas. I love to ponder. I get energy from being able to think, dream, and wonder. Although I love being with people, and am naturally gregarious, I can be depleted by a crowd. Books help me re-charge.

3. One of the important themes in Betsy’s Day at the Game is family. Did you model any of the characters after members of your own family?

I did. The little girl is modeled after my daughter. She is and has always been a very strong, capable girl. Athletic. Smart. Open to fun and new adventures. She was the kind of girl who would dig up earthworms to go fishing, not minding the fact that she was chipping the fingernail polish off her tips. Catching the foul ball from her favorite players is modeled after my son’s experience of chasing down a ball from one of his favorite players.

4. Another great thing about the book is that it comes with a scorecard so that children can learn to keep score along with Betsy. Who taught you how to score baseball games? Is it something that you have taught your children and grandchildren as well?

Aug 29, 2012

Puppets at the Minnesota State Fair!

Here in Minnesota, the State Fair, or the "Great Minnesota Get-Together," is a pretty big deal. For two weeks at the end of the summer, millions of people flock to the fairgrounds in St. Paul for rides, exhibits, and good old-fashioned deep-fried food on a stick. Walking around, you'll see a lot of interesting things, but this year, one thing you might just come across is a giant fat cat puppet made by Nalah and the Pink Tiger author Anne Sawyer-Aitch. "Every once in a while, a really fun assignment walks in the door," Anne said, "This bad boy is made of papier-maché, muslin, and bubble-wrap, and requires four people to operate him. It took about 60 hours to complete."

So if you're in the Midwest―and heading to the fair before it ends on Labor Day―see if you can find fat cat! And if you do, snap a picture and send it to us!

Aug 22, 2012

Author Event: Bob Macdonald at Barnes & Noble

In a blog post last week, we discussed author events and what we think about when we're planning readings/signings for our authors. Last night at the Barnes & Noble Galleria in Edina, MN, we had an event with Knives on the Cutting Edge: The Great Chefs' Dining Revolution author, Bob Macdonald, and Star Tribune Taste editor, and author of the cookbook Come One, Come All, Lee Svitak Dean. It turned out to be a great event, with a lot of interesting conversation between Bob and Lee about the changes in dining over the last 20 years, sustainable food, what makes a great restaurant, and how to begin developing a palate for find food and wine. (Hint: Just show up and eat! Oh, and bring friends: food is meant to be shared, after all.)
Here are a few of the pictures from the event. To see more, you can visit our Facebook page. And if you were there, please let us know what you thought and make sure to tag yourself in the pictures.

 The books. Most of them were gone by the end of the event!

Bob and Lee's Q&A session
The audience listening intently to Bob
Signing books at the end of the discussion session

Thank you to everyone who came out--and to the Barnes & Noble Galleria--for making this such a successful event!

Aug 16, 2012

Thinking Outside the Box: Scarletta Press Events

We're a small indie publisher, so it's important that we use the motto "think outside the box" to guide all our marketing (e.g., events, social media, etc.). In Monday's Publishers Weekly Shelftalker, Josie Leavitt discussed "What Makes a Good Event?," and that had me thinking, what kind of outside the box thinking have we done to reach that "good event" status?

It's the common case with all book events that you most likely won't get what you expect. Book stores, libraries, and other venues graciously welcome our authors in, so a good chunk of promoting the event and the store is up to us. When determining events or setting up any type of event, we ask ourselves a few simple questions:
     1. What can we do that's outside of the
        box or special for this event?
     2. What is the incentive for consumers to attend this event?
     3. What connects consumers to this venue?
     4. How can we creatively reach consumers who frequent the venue & those who
        do not?

Something that Leavitt said in her post really stuck out to me (because it's true!)

"What publicists and authors need to understand is that not every event is going to a crush of hundreds of people. But having a good event means that the folks attending will remember you and your work. They will tell their friends about how wonderful it was to meet you and talk to you about your work. And most importantly, they will now become loyal fans who will not only buy your books, they’ll give them as gifts."
So what can we do to draw those good consumers in?

Aug 10, 2012

Reviews for The Ice Castle

The official release date of Pendred Noyce's newest Lexicon Adventures book was only yesterday, but already the praise is piling up! We're so excited that everyone is loving this book as much as we do that we thought we would just highlight some of the lovely things people have had to say.

In a 4-star review, Marilyn at Compass Book Ratings said:
"THE ICE CASTLE, the second book in the Lexicon Adventures series, has many necessary ingredients that would entice young readers, i.e. adventure, fantasy, family member who don't get along, social commentary and a unique emphasis on music....Young adults will recognize that it reflects the real world they live in and will be able to see the social implications." Read the rest of the review here.

Teresa Bateman from Keen Readers said:
"There are puzzles to solve, traitors to catch, and friendships to forge. This is a well-written, thoughtful fantasy book that addresses issues of equality while providing interesting musical insights. Besides, it’s a great adventure!" You can read the rest of the review here.

And Denise LeBlanc, Director of Learning Experiences at The Discovery Museums called The Ice Castle:
"a beautiful symphony in which Ivan, Daphne, and Lila face various challenges and come to learn about themselves, one another, and human nature. This beautifully orchestrated book will delight and captivate readers of all ages."

You can find The Ice Castle: An Adventure in Music on, Barnes&Noble, or through your favorite independent bookstore on IndieBound. Happy reading!

Aug 8, 2012

Author Guest Blog: Robyn Parnell

Robyn Parnell is the author of The Mighty Quinn, a middle grade novel being published by Scarletta Junior Readers next May. But long before she started writing The Mighty Quinn she was volunteering in a creative writing group at her son's school in Hillsboro, Oregon. It was during that time that she not only met the children who would later become role models for characters in The Mighty Quinn but where she met a boy who would challenge her to find an interesting story in a town where supposedly nothing special ever happened.


Darers Go First

By Robyn Parnell
Can Zorgon the Magnificent speak truths without betraying secrets? Is it clever or cowardly for a Herculon Sentry to passively resist persecution? Should the Galactic Council's actions be dependent upon mitigating circumstances or unwavering doctrines? Must the Zirconium Raider Queen fight for every noble cause, or carefully choose her battles? Can Solarian Seekers cultivate new allies without discarding the Old Ways?
Max* was the most precocious of the students in the creative writing group I'd been asked to lead at my son's school. He incorporated universal themes into his character's dilemmas, but refused to cast those characters in our universe. His stories were situated on faraway planets in distant galaxies. While I saw nothing particularly wrong with specialization, for Max, space was the final, and only, frontier.
He was the first student to read his stories aloud, and the last to recognize that his critiques of the others' recurrent topics ("Dude, your villains always die in fiery crashes!" "Alyssa, another stray Rottweiler looking for a home?!") also applied to his own works.
Although the students had been chosen for the group due to their creative writing aptitude, they initially, rigidly, followed what I privately called the preteen's "anyone but us/anywhere but here" directives of storytelling:

1.) Protagonists must be extra-normal; ideally, super beings with super powers (Rottweilers included)

2.) Stories must take place "somewhere else" – another time, country, dimension, galaxy – in order to be interesting.
As the weeks passed and we discussed SCAC vitals (setting, characters, action, conflict), the students alternately supported and challenged each other through character matrixes and plot exercises. Few events in my writing life have been as rewarding as hearing a ten-year-old author's epiphany: "There's no suspense when mega-brave, mega-smart, mega-powerful characters get mega-fast solutions to their mega-big problems." (Yessssssssssss! They said it, so I don't have to!)

Aug 3, 2012

Read and Dine with Bob Macdonald and Lee Svitak Dean

Join Bob MacDonald (local foodie and author of Knives on the Cutting Edge: The Great Chefs' Dining Revolution) and Lee Svitak Dean (Star Tribune Taste Editor & author of the cookbook Come One, Come All) as they discuss the rise of celebrity chefs, the healthy eating movement, and other trends in the food industry. Hors d' oeuvres will be served - catered by Broders' - and there will also be a special treat made by Lee! Planning on attending? Let us know by joining the event page on Facebook, and make sure to share the event with your friends! See you there!

Jul 26, 2012

The Ice Castle Activity Fair

We just finished editing our new promotional video for Pendred Noyce's second book in the Lexicon Adventure Series, The Ice Castle: An Adventure in Music, and we must say, it looks pretty cool!
The book is out on August 9, and it comes with discussion questions and activities to get kids involved with music and science. What's even cooler is that we've put together a set activities so that you can host your very own Ice Castle Activity Fair at your local school, library, or museum.
So check out our video to get an introduction to the book and the activity fair, and if you want to host an event, email our publicity director, Desiree .

Jul 20, 2012

Why We Love Books in a Series

There is always talk about what the big trend is in YA literature. Right now it’s vampires and dystopias, but soon it will probably be mermaids and cyborgs, or maybe it will be dinosaurs. Who knows? It fluctuates, and despite anyone’s claim, it can’t really be predicted. But what does seem to be a lasting trend is the popularity of books in a series.

Flavorwire posted a list the other day of what they deemed to be 10 of the greatest YA series of all time, and it made us wonder, what is the appeal of a series over a single book? We’re not arguing that there aren’t great single books out there, or that they can't be as popular, but you have to admit that when you think of the best-selling books of the time, they are all series: The Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings. The list could go on. And books continue to be bought by publishing houses not just as a single title, but in groups of three or more. There's always a discussion of whether the soon-to-be acquired book could be turned into a series.
And we're no different. We have a few new series in the works, and book two of Scarletta Junior ReadersLexicon Adventure series, The Ice Castle: An Adventure in Music, hits shelves in August. (The series follows cousins Ivan and Daphne and their exciting--and sometimes dangerous--adventures in the land of Lexicon. If you haven’t read them yet, you definitely should.)
But back to series as a whole, what’s so great about them? Here’s our list so far:
1. Kids grow up with the characters. When I read the first Harry Potter book, I was the same age as Harry. As the books continued to be published, I stayed roughly the same age as the characters, and it made me identify with them even more.

Jul 10, 2012

Great Food, Great Prices: Twin Cities Restaurant Week

Until Friday, it’s restaurant week here in the Twin Cities, and that means great food from some of the area’s best restaurants and chefs at unbeatably low prices! None of us at the office has participated in restaurant week before—blame a mixture of procrastination, forgetfulness, and not enough time—but this year we are determined to change all of that.
We’ve been looking over Mpls.St. Paul Magazine’s list of participating restaurants and their respective menus, and we have to say, there are some great options. A couple of us are already planning on going to The Oceanaire Seafood Room, and I’m personally really excited to try the Firelake Grill House and Sea Change at the Guthrie.

And not only do we want to go to some of the best restaurants, but we want to hear what restaurants you’re excited to finally try! Tweet us with your restaurant plans this week, using the hashtag #MNRestaurantWeek, and you could win a copy of local foodie Bob Macdonald’s new book, Knives on the Cutting Edge: The Great Chefs’ Dining Revolution. In it, you'll find everything from the rise of celebrity chefs to the healthy eating movement and the growing use of bold flavors by chefs all over Europe and the U.S. It's a great accompaniment to all the delicious food you'll be experiencing this week! Plus, it's not out until August, so you'll be the first of your friends to read it!

Jul 6, 2012

We're Building a Castle!

With the holiday this week, it’s been pretty dead in the office. In fact, there’s only been a few of us here. So to keep our spirits up, we decided to build a castle out of our inventory of Pendred Noyce’s forthcoming book The Ice Castle. Fun, huh?
But it's not just for fun. We need to make a video for an upcoming virtual conference, and rather than film our publicity director, Desiree, simply talking about the book in our conference room, we wanted to make the background a little more interesting. And yes, we're always looking for an excuse to build a book castle and call it work.

This arched doorway didn't hold up very long, so we needed to try something else.

It's still a work in progress, but it doesn't look too bad for our first attempt.

Jun 29, 2012

Does This Spark Your Pinterest?

Like most publishers, Scarletta Press is on Pinterest. And yes, like most, we love it. We have boards with titles like Book Humor, Dream Bookshelves, In Memory of Maurice Sendak, Kid Lit, and Book Trailers—just to name a few—and we’re constantly looking for new images to pin and repin. Well that’s all fine and good, you say, but what’s the point?

Jun 21, 2012

Music Education Week

It's National Music Education Week, and to celebrate, we've compiled a list of musically inclined books for your reading pleasure. No matter if you're looking for books by musicians, about musicians, or inspired by musicians, there's something on the list for you. We even added a few children's books in case you want to celebrate music education week with your family!
If you want to find out more about any of the books, or purchase them online, you can follow the links that correspond to each numbered cover. Happy reading!

1. Forever Young by Bob Dylan and illustrated by Paul Rogers
2. High Fidelity by Nick Hornsby
3. Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
4. One Love Adapted by Cedella Marley - Based on the song by Bob Marley
5. Come As You Are by Michael Azerrad
6. The Ice Castle: An Adventure in Music by Pendred Noyce
7. Hassie Calhoun: A Las Vegas Novel of Innocence by Pamela Cory
8. Just Kids by Patti Smith
9. Spiral Bound by Dessa
10. The Old, Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes by Greil Marcus
11. Mama Don’t Allow by Thacher Hurd
12. Under their Thumb: How a Nice Boy from Brooklyn Got Mixed Up with the Rolling Stones (and Lived to Tell About It) by Bill German
And if we've forgotten one of you're own favorite music books, make sure to add it to the list!

Jun 19, 2012

Let's Hear a Hip-hip-hooray for ALA!

We're so excited for ALA's annual conference in California this weekend--or at least we will be as soon as we finish the million and one things we need to do to prepare! This week is proving to be crazy as we finalize travel arrangements, make sure all our lovely books are shipped correctly, pack our posters and press releases, and try to figure out if there's time in the schedule to visit Disney. This last one seems doubtful with all the other cool stuff going on.
If you're also going to be in Anaheim for ALA, make sure you remember to visit us! We'll be part of the Publisher Group West booth (#2566) and we've got plenty of stuff going on make it worth your while.

Jun 8, 2012

Book Trailers

I doubt that book trailers will ever get the same attention that movie or TV trailers do. Just look at The Hunger Games: the movie trailer has gotten over 4.6 million views on YouTube, while its book counterpart has only gotten 1,700. But I'll admit that more than once a book trailer has pushed me to get a book that I was previously on the fence about reading. Yes, some of them are terribly boring or have nothing to do with the book, but there are also some great ones out there that deserve some recognition.
So when I came across Melville House Books' Moby Awards for the best (and worst) book trailers, I was delighted. You can check out some of last year's hits—and MAJOR misses—on their website, but here are some of their picks, as well as some of my own favorites.

It's a Book by Lane Smith

This is such a great book, and I love how the trailer makes the illustrations come alive.

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Wonderstruck's illustrations are beautifully intricate, and this trailer not only shows that, in an interesting 3-dimensional way, but it also allows viewers to hear about the book from Selznick himself as he walks in and out of the sketches.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The typography and silent-film feel of this trailer are what attracted me to it. It's only text, but it still manages to be more appealing than other trailers with hired actors.

Jun 7, 2012

Watch BEA!

Today is the last day of BookExpo America, and if you aren't in New York to see all the events in person, the good news is that you can still watch them online. It's ALMOST as good as being there....

Jun 1, 2012

If We Were at BEA...

Over the next few days, book people from all over will head to New York to attend BookExpo America, or BEA for all of you who love a good acronym (and there's plenty of them when it comes to BEA: ABA, ABC, AAP, AAR, ABFFE, IDPF…the list could go on). Unfortunately, Scarletta Press isn't attending the show this year, so we've decided to live vicariously through everyone else and plan what we would have done had we been jet-setting to NYC on Sunday. Of course, BEA is overwhelming, and it’s impossible to see everything you intend. But still, there are some highlights that we would definitely check out.

Monday’s festivities start out with an opening session from the American Booksellers Association—or ABA, ok there I go again—based on the campaign called “Why Indies Matter.” This video campaign on the IndieBound website features authors, booksellers, and customers giving short testimonials on independent bookstores and why we love them. At the BEA event, Richard Russo will be speaking about the current and future role of indie bookstores, and what’s also cool is that on Tuesday, ABA will be capturing other responses to the question of why indies matter from this year’s honorees.

The adult book and author breakfast on Tuesday morning will have appearances by Stephen Colbert and Junot Diaz, and later in the day is an interesting panel on the “Ongoing evolution of YA fiction.” So for everyone who’s dying to know the deal with Hunger Games-type trilogies and their wild popularity, all your questions will be answered.

May 31, 2012

Books Out Loud with Bill Watkins: Part 3

And now, it's time for the last video of author Bill Watkins reading from his memoir, A Celtic Childhood. If these excerpts just aren't enough, remember you can always get his book online through Barnes&Noble,, and IndieBound.

May 24, 2012

A Rating System for YA Books: Yea or Nay?

A few days ago there was an article from the U.S. News and World Report about the issue of rating young adult books for mature content. According to a new report from researcher Sarah Coyne at Bingham Young University, the top 40 best-selling children's books on the New York Times list between June 22 and July 6, 2008 had over 1,500 profane words. Because of this, she suggests that a rating system be put into place to warn parents about the books they're letting their children read.

The article quotes Beth Yoke, from ALA, saying, “Books can be a safe way for young people to explore edgier, sensitive, or complicated topics, and they provide parents the opportunity to help their teens grow and understand these kinds of sensitive issues.” She argues that if a large, outside organization were allowed to rate books based on mature content, it would end up forcing authors to edit their books so as not to be placed in an R-rated category. It’s also pointed out that some books, just because of their subject, would automatically be placed in an adult category. Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines is an important book on drug use that by no means encourages teen readers to use, but is still full of profanity. Any effort to censor books like this for content would be to portray the situations inaccurately, and thereby lessen their impact.